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Why You Need Video for Nonprofit Fundraising

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By Doug Gritzmacher

Creative Director, Z-Channel Films, Denver, Colorado Google+

Are you considering using video for your nonprofit fundraising goals? Google recently completed a survey that tracked consumer nonprofit donation patterns. Here is one finding that may be the single most convincing argument that video can help you:

• 57 percent of viewers who see an online video for a nonprofit make a contribution.

That’s an astounding conversion rate. One nonprofit director who has seen this in action is Sheena Sullivan. Sheena directs the Coal Creek chapter of Meals on Wheels, a national nonprofit organization. Shortly after taking over the position last year she reached out to us to produce a fundraising video that she could use during their annual luncheon in September. We recently completed a second video to be used for this year’s luncheon next month.

CCMOW has a very modest operating budget but Sheena still finds the means to afford video production to support her fundraising efforts. Sheena recognized early on in her career how valuable a tool video could be for fundraising. She shared with us her thoughts on why she first sought out video and how it impacts her fundraising.

 

Denver nonprofit director Sheena

 

INTERVIEW WITH NONPROFIT DIRECTOR SHEENA SULLIVAN  :

You spent the first part of your career working with nonprofits in Chicago and that is where you first sought out video. What led you to seeking out video? Why did you think it would be helpful?
SHEENA: I worked as a community organizer in Chicago and storytelling is the foundation of organizing. Video, in my mind, is the ultimate medium for storytelling. 

What kind of successes or benefits did you see with that first video exerpience?
SHEENA: My first real experience with video was about a very divisive issue—immigration. To this day, when I show that video, I see new understanding emerge about what it means to be undocumented. And what it means to be an activist. When someone asks about the work I did in Chicago, I show that video. It says it all, and far better than I could.

A couple years ago you took over as director of the Meals on Wheels chapter in Lafayette, CO, just north of Denver. Since then you have commissioned us for two videos. Why did you think video would be helpful for CCMOW?
SHEENA: There are a lot of misconceptions about Meals on Wheels organizations because we’re all sort of lumped together in people’s minds. I wanted to create a video that showed how our organization is unique—a piece that showed the passion of our staff, the quality of our food and the vibrance of our community. I knew that only a beautifully done video would be able to capture all of that.

You show videos at your fundraising events to potential donors. What kind of engagement to a video do you hope for? Are there certain engagements that lead to more donations?
SHEENA: The goal of the video is to create an emotional connection between the potential funder and the people that we serve. When someone watches a great video that tells a compelling story, they are more able to see themselves, or their mother, or their neighbor in the people featured. That creates a deep understanding about the importance of our mission.

How important is video to your nonprofit fundraising efforts?
SHEENA: Video is hugely important to our fundraising efforts. There are so many worthy causes out there to give your hard-earned money to. An emotionally engaging video helps make the case for why your cause is worthy.

A lot of nonprofits might say they don’t have the money to afford a video. Your organization works with a small budget, yet you have still found a way to afford video production services. What kind of return on investment have you experienced?
SHEENA: We budget for the video because it works all year for us as a marketing tool. We use these videos to tell our organization’s story to potential clients, partners, and funders. A great video is invaluable.

What would you say to a nonprofit director who is not using video as part of their fundraising efforts?
SHEENA: I would tell them to give it a try. The results will speak for themselves.

Are you ready to see how video can help you? See more about our nonprofit fundraising video services.

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